Germany - Exporter Guide

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Germany

Posted on: 14 May 2013

Good Market Opportunities for U.S. Exporters of Consumer Oriented Agricultural Products

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 5/8/2013 GAIN Report Number: GM13019 Germany Exporter Guide Good Market Opportunities for U.S. Exporters of Consumer Oriented Agricultural Products Approved By: Paul Spencer Prepared By: Kaela McCabe\Leif Erik Rehder Report Highlights: Germany has 82 million of the world’s wealthiest consumers and is by far the biggest market in the European Union. Germany offers good opportunities for U.S. exporters. In 2012, U.S. exports of consumer oriented food products totaled over $900 million with the biggest trade items being tree nuts, seafood and wine & beer. This report provides U.S. food and agriculture exporters with background information and suggestions for entering the German market. Post: Berlin Author Defined: Section I Market Overview Macro Economic Situation Germany has 82 million of the world’s wealthiest consumers and is by far the most populous and economically powerful of the European Union’s 27 member-states. Germany’s population continues to decline due to low birth rates and reduced immigration. It is estimated that 50 percent of Germany’s population will be older than 47 in 2025 and by 2060 the population will have decreased to about 65 million. Germany is a broadly middle class society with a social welfare system that provides for universal medical care and unemployment compensation. GDP grew by 3.6 percent in 2010 , by 3.0 percent in 2011, and 0.7 percent in 2012. The GDP is projected to grow by 0.4 in 2013. The continued growth has been attributable primarily to rebounding manufacturing orders and exports. Domestic demand, however, is becoming a more significant driver of Germany's economic expansion. 2012, per capita income is estimated at $39,100 with an inflation rate of about 1 percent. The average unemployment rate was 6.8 percent. In 2012, German imports of agricultural products (including forest products) totaled US$100 billion. The U.S. share of the German agricultural import market totaled nearly $2.2 billion consisting mostly of soybeans, tree nuts, seafood, vegetable oils, wine, and other consumer oriented products. Germany's main trading partners in the food sector are other EU countries followed by Russia, the United States and Switzerland. In total, Germany is a net importer of food and feed. In the past ten years, food imports have steadily increased, underlying the rising demand for foreign as well as exotic foods. Section II Exporter Business Tips The German market offers good opportunities for U.S. exporters of consumer-oriented agricultural products. U.S. suppliers of consumer-ready foods and beverages interested in developing a market for their products in Germany must be prepared to: ξ Offer a product that meets German/EU food law, packaging, and labeling requirements ξ Pay particular attention to animal product health certificates, many of which are now filed using a new electronic system. ξ Watch out for potential testing for unapproved biotech crops (e.g., there is a zero tolerance for some U.S. corn varieties). ξ Invest time and money to develop the market, paying special attention to identify the right marketing channel for your product. ξ Seriously consider participating in German food trade shows, many of which are in fact global marketing opportunities. (A listing of upcoming shows may be found at: www.usda- ξ Explore marketing approaches that build on strong societal themes ξ Highlighting your particular industry’s ‘sustainability’ and explore the value of sustainability certification. ξ Consider including a certified organic item in your product line up, both for sales and brand management reasons. Market Access If you are considering working through a distributor in another country (the Netherlands is common), you should be aware that food imports from other countries within the European Union fall under the "free movement of goods" principle. This means that products that are imported by other EU-countries may be brought into Germany even if they violate German food laws. If this is the case, importers must obtain a permit from the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) in order to sell the product in Germany. To determine current tariffs and other measure applied to imports into Germany and the EU in general, please see the TARIC, the Online Customs Tariff Database. There are a number of potential technical barriers to trade, thus exporters may want to consult with the USDA/FAS Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards report on Germany. This report provides an overview of food laws in force in Germany that cover areas which are not yet harmonized and provides a link to more general EU import requirements. Product Packaging Exporting companies from the United States should be aware that German consumers are very environmentally conscious and this aspect of product packaging is very important. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers must also make sure that packaging materials comply with EU and German domestic regulations in terms of recycling and disposal. The German packaging law requires manufacturers to take care of the recycling or disposal of any packaging material they sell. The German industry set up a dual system of waste collection, which picks up household packaging in conjunction with the existing municipal waste-collection systems. There are several dual system companies licensed in Germany offering various waste disposal schemes. U.S. exporters are free to choose which dual system they join. However it is not mandatory to display any dual system membership seal on sales packaging. Distribution Channels The German food & beverage industry is highly fragmented and competitive. Few German retailers import products directly from other countries and instead buy from central buyers/distributors specializing in importing of food and beverages. In general, these wholesalers specialize in products or product groups; some are even experts in food products from a specific country of origin. These specialized importers have in-depth knowledge of all importing requirements such as the necessary product certificates, labeling and packaging, and also take care of the shipping, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution of the products within the country. It is advisable that U.S. exporters find a local representative in order to place and promote their products successfully within Germany. Another successful way of finding the right distribution for products of U.S. food and beverages companies is to participate in the various food trade fairs taking place in Germany. Germany is home to some of the world’s largest food shows and, in 2013, about 250 U.S. firms will participate in four USDA-endorsed food trade shows, including: ANUGA (Cologne, Oct. 5-9, 2013), Food Ingredients Europe (Frankfurt, Nov 19-21, 2013), FRUIT LOGISTICA (Berlin, Feb. 5-7, 2014), and BioFach (Nuremberg, Feb 12-15, 2014). These large German shows are a cost effective way to come into direct contact with German and international food brokers, importers, and wholesalers. Supporting Institutions Currently, about 40 U.S. organizations operate USDA-funded marketing programs in Germany. Participants include California Wine Institute, Almond Board of California, Cranberry Marketing Association, American Soybean Association, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, California Walnut Commission, and U.S. Meat Export Federation. Foreign companies looking for German food importers, wholesalers, or distributors can obtain reliable information from the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade (BVL) as well as at the different food market segments industry associations. Section III Market Sector Structure and Trends Food Retail Germany is the food and beverage market the largest in Europe. According to Euromonitor International, grocery retailing reached sales of €178.5 billion in 2011 ($218 billion). Part of demand is met with domestic products; however, overall Germany is a net importer of all major categories of food products. Value of imports from Consumer Oriented and Fishery Products, past 5 years billion USD 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Consumer Oriented Products 51.1 57.2 51.5 52.5 59.0 54.7 Imports from the U.S. 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 Fishery products 4.2 4.5 4.4 4.5 5.2 4.7 Imports from the U.S. 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 Source: Given the large size of the German market, the opportunities for business in the food sector are very attractive to U.S. exporters. Consolidation, market saturation, strong competition and low prices are key characteristics of the German retail food market. The German retail food sector is dominated by five large retailers, which according to the German cartel office claim more than 90 percent of the market. Germany has the highest share of discount in food retailing (37,9 %) worldwide. Aldi is the leading German discounter, followed by Lidl and Netto. However, in recent years, there has also been a trend in consumer preference toward smaller grocery formats, including convenience stores, small grocery retailers and independents. Source: Euromonitor International Besides the dominance of the discount sector in food retail, there are some new trends based on new consuming patterns in the middle class and the overall change in demographics. Therefore, the increasing demand for wellness, convenience food, and organic products in the past years, represents a large potential for US-companies active in these market segments. An aging population is fueling the demand for health and wellness as well as functional food products to prevent or overcome conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Two-thirds of all Germans see a direct link between nutrition and health. German consumers also consider themselves to be socially conscientious. Because of this, there are many examples of successful marketing strategies based on themes such as “sustainable,” “locally sourced,” “free range,” “natural,” “organic,” “fair trade” and “carbon neutral.” For sustainability in particular, major retailers and producers are increasingly requiring private certification. Unilever, for example, has pledged purchase 100% ‘sustainable’ products by 2020 and is already making strong progress toward that goal. For U.S. products, there is room to use high health, safety and environmental standards governing production as a competitive advantage but is it important that they ‘have a story to tell’ and are prepared to consider private sustainability certification. For more information please see the USDA/FAS report Using Sustainability to Market U.S. Foods in Europe. The movement for organic food products has long since achieved mainstream status in Germany. More and more consumers are seeking to improve their sense of well-being, health, and even their performance levels, through the consumption of functional food products. A 2012 U.S.-EU accord allows for USDA/NOP certified organic products to be sold as ‘organic’ in Europe without any additional certification. For more information please see the USDA/FAS report Export Opprotunities for U.S. Organic Products in the EU An increasingly fast-paced society and the rising number of single households is driving demand for highly convenient foodstuffs including ready-to-eat meals, frozen foods, desserts, and baked goods. Other trends include sales of fair trade products, such as coffee and fruit juices. For more information please see the USDA/FAS German Retail Foods report. Selling direct Direct sales to Germany’s leading retail companies is very difficult; however, it can be a desirable product-entry approach for a U.S. supplier. Due to their wide range of distribution, central buyers are generally flooded with offers from competing suppliers and they are usually not interested in taking on added responsibility of importing products directly. This is especially the case for new-to-market products, which may not comply with German/EU import requirements, food laws, and packaging and labeling requirements. Retail buyers may only be interested in importing products directly if they are unique, possess some specific attribute, or offer significant advantages in terms of quality, price, or financial promotional support. Each of Germany’s leading retail groups has a different business structure, purchasing, and distribution system. Many of the leading retailers have multiple retail chains, often with various types of retail formats such as large hypermarkets, discount and small neighborhood stores, or perhaps beverage and/or delicatessen outlets. Large retailers’ purchasing departments may also be divided by retail format and, sometimes, by region of the country. New products on the German market may require up to 12 to 18 months of testing to gain market acceptance. Listing fees, equivalent to several thousand dollars or more per product are common and do not ensure shelf space if a profitable turnover is not achieved rather quickly. The exception may be a retailer's desire to maintain a competitive edge by keeping a full range of products. Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Sector (HRI) The German food service sector is large and highly fragmented, but can be divided into the commercial and institutional food service markets. The German commercial food service market includes hotels, restaurants, fast food and take-away outlets, bars, cafeterias, coffee shops, and similar channels. The institutional food service market is comprised of hospitals, universities, nursing homes, and cafeterias. Total turnover of the German food service sector climbed to over US$ 85 billion in 2011. Some key trends include sustainability, regional produce, convenience, health and wellness, Asian cuisine and retail catering. Sales of consumer foodservice continued to be led by full service restaurants, who are dominated by independent restaurants. Compared with other countries chains still have a very low presence but some are also becoming popular. International chains have a very strong position in fast food. The biggest players in the German food service market are McDonalds, Burger King, LSG, Tank & Rast, and Nordsee. Purchasing by Hotels, Restaurants, and Institutions is fragmented and competitive. Few of them import products directly from other countries, except for items that they purchase in large quantities. Most HRI’s would rather buy from central buyers/distributors importing food and beverages. In general, these wholesalers have specialized in products or product groups and some are even experts in food products from a specific country of origin. Thus, specialized importers have an in-depth knowledge of importing requirements, such as product certification, labeling and packaging. They also typically handle shipping, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution of products within the country. The two mayor distribution channels for the German food service trade are Cash & Carry Wholesalers and Specialized Distributor/Wholesalers. Cash & Carry wholesalers operate large stores with food and non-food products. They sell to retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators. C&C stores offer a variety of products to competitive prices. They are not open to the average consumer. Specialized distributors to the food service sector have dry and cold storage facilities with refrigerated/frozen trucks for deliveries. They buy from processing companies, importers and occasionally, foreign exporters. To cover the entire German food service market, regional distributors have organized in groups, such as Intergast and Service Bund. Some of those distributors organize in-house food shows once or twice a year where their suppliers can demonstrate their products to potential customers. This is an excellent opportunity for U.S. suppliers of products ready to enter the German food service market. For more information please see the FAS/USDA German Food Service –HRI report. Key Influences on Consumer Demands in Germany ξ Declining population with a birth rate of 1,39 babies born per woman of childbearing age ξ Ageing population ξ Number of households growing ξ Smaller households ξ Rise in number of working women ξ International consumer tastes e.g. Chinese, Indian, Italian, Thai, Mexican, American ξ Reduction in formal meal occasions, leading to an increase in snacking ξ Healthier eating habits ξ Sustainability is the trend meeting consumer concerns about environment, obesity, safety of the food supply Advantages and Challenges of the German Food Market Sector Strength & Market Opportunities Sector Weaknesses & Competitive Threats Germany is the biggest market in Europe with one German consumers demand quality and low of the highest income levels in the world prices Many German consumers are uninformed about the No unified U.S. sustainability message in the details of sustainability and there is still room to German market. define a U.S. sustainability message Germany is among the largest food importing EU import regulation and tariffs. EU gives nations in the world preferential access to products from EU countries Opportunities for healthy food products are not Very competitive market with low growth in sufficiently available on the local European market retail sales Equivalency agreement on Organics offers ample Listing fees paid to retailers and money opportunities spend on creating brand awareness hamper the introduction of new U.S. brands Germany has many well-established importers and Margins on food at retail level are very thin a well-developed distribution U.S. style is popular, especially among the younger Retailers rarely import products into generation Germany on their own The size of the EU import quota for beef is rising to The quota only applies to beef from animals 48,200 tons and Germany is the largest EU market. not treated with growth hormones’ Good reputation for U.S. food like dried fruits, seafood, wine. Large non-German population and German’s inclination to travel abroad help fuel demand for foreign products Section IV Best High-Value Product Prospects U.S. products with the best export opportunities in German market meet one or more of the following criteria: ξ The basic product is not produced in Europe in sufficient quantities or the American quality is superior ξ The product (usually fresh) is available on a counter seasonal basis ξ The product is unique to the United States The following products from the United States have good potential in Germany: Product Category Total German U.S. Market attractiveness for USA German Imports Import Imports from the Growth in 2012 in U.S. in 5 years millions of millions of (2008- U.S. $ U.S. $ 2012)* Fish and Seafood 4,698 237 -10.7% The German market offers lucrative Products opportunities for fish and seafood products. Fish consumption is growing as consumers associate fishery products with a healthy diet. Best prospects for U.S. and seafood exports are salmon, (lobster), shrimps, crabs, caviar substitutes, catfish and scallops Tree Nuts 1,699 417 36.4% The United States is the biggest supplier of tree nuts to Germany. Most tree nuts are used as ingredients by the food processing sector. Almonds are the most important commodity within this category. Further products with good sales potential include hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans and walnuts. Wine and Beer 3,667 94 36.9% Germany has a high share of domestic wine production. However, good prospects exists for “new world wines” including those from the U.S. Pet Foods (Dog and 811 2 -47.3% Sales of cat food have the biggest Cat) market share. U.S. exports are declining but potential exists for premium pet food. Processed Fruits and 5,390 83 -8.2% German imports are slowly increasing. Vegetables Those products are mostly used as ingredients by the food processing sector for the production of pastries and cereals. Dried fruits and prepared nuts are also popular as a snack. Snack Foods (Excl. 3,145 7 14.1% German demand for healthy, organic, Nuts) innovative, and exotic snacks continues to grow. Red Meats 5,143 76 1237% Good opportunities for U.S. high Fresh/Chilled/Frozen quality beef produced without growth hormones. The EU quota size and administration system have recently seen changes. Category A: Products Present in the Market That Have Good Sales Potential ξ Tree nuts ξ Wine ξ Processed fruits and vegetables ξ Fruit juices ξ Snack foods ξ Health food, organic food, sustainable food products ξ Dried fruits Category B: Products Not Present In Significant Quantities but Which Have Good Sales Potential ξ High quality beef (produced without promotants) ξ Cranberries and cranberry products ξ Seafood and seafood products ξ Game and exotic meat ξ Innovative sauces, condiments and confectionary products ξ Products featuring ‘sustainable’ or other social issue-based marketing theme Category C: Products Not Present Because They Face Significant Barriers ξ Poultry (non-tariff barrier) ξ Processed food with GMO ingredients, bleached flour Competition for U.S. exports Product category Main suppliers in Strengths of Key Advantages and Disadvantages Total Import in million percentage, 2012 supply countries of Local Suppliers US$, 2012 PG 30 Breakfast 1. France 16.9 Distance, availability Developed processed food Cereals 2. Belgium 15.3 and regional products industry 3. Netherlands 14.7 264 16. U.S. 0.2 PG 31 Snack Foods 1. Belgium 22.1 Distance, availability Developed confectionary 2. Netherlands and regional products industry 3,145 17.8 3. Switzerland 10.8 22. U.S. 0.2 HS 02: Meat 1. Netherlands Distance and Focus on dairy production 7,670 24.22 availability instead of beef production. 2. Belgium Genetics need improvement 18.81 3. Denmark 17.03 21. U.S. 0.3 HS 03: Fish and 1. Poland 1,2: Distance and Tradition in seafood trading Crustaceans 15.5 availability and processing, fish is popular 3,895 2. Denmark 3: Price/quality ratio 12.4 3. China 12.0 6. U.S. 5.8 HS 04: Dairy Produce; 1. Netherlands Proximity Great tradition of milk and Birds Eggs and Natural 31.8 milk based products Honey 2. France 8,019 13.7 3. Austria 7.8 29. U.S. 0.1 HS 07: Edible 1. Netherlands 1: Proximity Products not sufficiently vegetables 38.6 2,3: Tradition, available on local market 6,167 2. Spain different climate/ 20.6 supply/ taste/ varieties 3. Italy 8.8 16. U.S. 0.3 HS 08: Edible Fruits 1. Spain 1,3: Tradition, Products not sufficiently and Nuts 19.9 different climate/ available on local market 8,542 2. Netherlands supply/ taste/ varieties 18.2 2: Proximity 3. Italy 12.8 6. U.S. 5.5 HS 09: Coffee, Tea, 1. Brazil Trading tradition No domestic availability, Re- Mate and Spices 22.96 export 5,734 2. Vietnam 12.34 3. Honduras 8.6 38. U.S. 0.1 HS 16: Edible 1. Netherlands 1,3: Proximity Not sufficiently domestically Preparations of Meat 13.9 3: Price/quality ratio available Fish, Crustaceans 2. Poland 3,083 11.6 3. Austria 10.2 22. U.S. 0.6 HS 19: Preparation of 1. Italy Proximity and re- Not sufficiently domestically Cereals, Flour, Starch 20.79 export available or Milk 2. France 3,534 14.43 3. Netherlands 11.9 25. U.S. 0.2 HS 20: Preparations of 1. Netherlands Proximity Not sufficiently domestically Vegetables, fruits, Nuts 23.2 available 5,496 2. Italy 13.6 3. Turkey 8.7 20. U.S. 0.5 HS 21: Miscellaneous 1. Netherlands Proximity and re- Not sufficiently domestically Edible Preparations 17.8 export available 3,157 2. France 11.1 3. Italy 9.0 12. U.S. 1.5 HS 22: Beverages, 1. France Excellent regional Not sufficiently domestically Spirits, Wine and 19.3 products available Vinegar 2. Italy 8,542 19.1 3. Netherlands 11.1 8. U.S. 5.0 Source: Section V Key Contacts and Further Information Participating or simply attending a trade show can be very cost-effective way to test the German market, to introduce a product, or to expand sales. Germany offers a wide variety of trade show venues for food and beverage products. Trade shows like ANUGA, Green Week or the BioFach show in Germany enjoy an exceptional reputation within the global food industry and these shows outreach is, in many cases, global. U.S. Exporters should consider participating or visiting the following trade shows. ANUGA (every two years) One of the leading food fair for the retail trade and the October 5 – 9, 2013 food service and catering market VeggieWorld Germany’s leading tradeshow for vegetarian products October 26 – 27, 2013 Heimtextil World’s biggest trade fair for home and commercially January 11-14, 2014 used textiles. IPM – International Plant Show European trade fair for the horticultural and nursery January 28 -31, 2014 industry ISM (International Sweets and Biscuit World’s largest show for snacks and confectionery Show) products January 26-29, 2014 Fruit Logistica The World's Leading Trade Fair for the Fresh Fruit and February 5 – 7, 2014 Vegetable Business Bio Fach Leading European tradeshow for organic food and February 12 – 15, 2014 non-food products Internorga International tradeshow for the hotel, restaurant, March 14-19, 2014 catering, baking, and confectionery trades ProWein International trade show for wine and spirits March 24 – 26, 2014 Interzoo (every two years) Leading trade show for pet food and supplies May 29- June 1, 2014 Equitana (every two years) Leading European tradeshow for the equestrian market March 14 – 22, 2015 More information about these and other German exhibitions and trade shows can be found under the following Internet address: Homepages of potential interest to the U.S. food and beverage exporters are listed below: Foreign Agricultural Service Berlin Foreign Agricultural Service Washington USDA/FAS/Berlin U.S. Mission to the European Union European Importer Directory One tip of use to U.S. exporters is the German business portal, which is maintained by the Ministery of Economics and Technology. Provided in English, it serves as a central contact platform that can steer inquiries into the right channel. More information about the food and beverage sector can be found under: goods/food-and-beverage.html If you have questions or comments regarding this report, or need assistance exporting to Germany, please contact the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service Office in Berlin at the following address: Foreign Agricultural Service U.S. Department of Agriculture Embassy of United States of America Clayallee 170 14191 Berlin Tel: (49) (30) 8305 – 1150 Fax: (49) (30) 8305 – 1935 E-Mail: Homepage: Please view our Home Page for more information on exporting U.S. food and beverage products to Germany, including market and product “briefs” available on specific topics of interest to U.S. exporters. Importer listings are available from the Agricultural Affairs Office for use by U.S. exporters of U.S. food and beverage products. Recent reports of interests to U.S. exporters interested in the German Market include: Report Title Report Number Month Report was written Biotech Report GM 12012 May 2012 Retail Report GM12021 July 2012 Food Service –HRI Report GM13002 January 2012 FAIRS Report GM13005 January 2013
Posted: 14 May 2013

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